Ecuadorian police and army have taken over the notorious Litoral prison in Guayaquil to search for Adolfo Macias, alias Fito, considered the country's No. 1 criminal and main leader of the fearsome Los Choneros gang. The capo, who also heads the branch of the Mexican Sinaloa cartel in the Andean country, would be "holed" (hidden) inside the prison, according to General Ricardo Vaca, commander of Zone 4, who could neither confirm nor deny to the press that Fito had escaped from prison before being transferred to the prison of La Roca.

"The alert is there, but obviously the search is in situ. We estimate that in the next 24 hours the official notification of the units deployed will be known," Vaca added. Fito disappeared hours before he was transferred.

This is the first time since moderate Daniel Noboa came to power less than two months ago that hundreds of military and police officers have entered the most dangerous penitentiary in the Americas, known for its massacres and for being the general "command" since part of the organized crime that has plagued Ecuador was planned. Authorities estimate that at least 460 inmates have died inside prisons over the past two years.

It is impossible to explain why Ecuador has become the epicenter of drug trafficking and the most violent country in the Americas without mentioning Fito, Los Choneros and Sinaloa's associates. Not only the transfer of cocaine to Europe and the United States, but also extortion, homicides and kidnappings mark their records, which have increased in recent years. To make matters worse, Los Choneros were once singled out by presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio, an investigative journalist murdered by Colombian hitmen 10 days before the polls opened.

The first measure taken at that time by the government of the previous president, Guillermo Lasso, was the declaration of a state of emergency. And the second, the transfer of Fito to the Litoral prison.

His escape, if finally confirmed, also coincides with the new government's operation to expressly build two maximum security prisons in Pastaza (Amazonas) and Santa Elena (coast) like those built by Salvadoran Nayib Bukele to fight the gangs. Noboa wanted to separate the big drug lords from the drug lords in order to confine them in those prisons or in the barge-prisons, on the high seas, that he promised during his election campaign.

  • Ecuador
  • Daniel Noboa
  • El Salvador
  • Drug trafficking